Tammy is the founder of the UK-based hair care line Jim + Henry, and in a recent chat with AntidoteStreet.com, she shared some incredible insights into her journey (personal and professional), the elements that make Jim + Henry so unique, and the way she is changing how women feel about themselves and their hair. After all, we can all use a reminder that we are more than enough just as we are.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR WITH THE JIM + HENRY RANGE?
As a young, mixed race, female millennial, I feel very lucky to be alive in this age of realisation for women. Times has certainly changed since my childhood and at the same time, attitudes still need to be addressed so that we (young black women), feel safe, confident, and free...and that’s where we are with Jim + Henry - helping women of all ages on that journey and navigating that space.
It has been such a journey. To think one year ago I’d just started trading, I had a website and one sale, and didn’t really know what I was doing. I had a plan, but a vague, unverified way of getting there. With no blueprint, but the inner confidence that I had something great I knew I needed others to validate my idea (that eight ingredients are more than enough to deliver stunning results), so that’s what I did. And the positive reviews haven’t stopped.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP IN BIRMINGHAM AND HOW DID THAT SHAPE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR HAIR?
Birmingham, or at least the part we grew up in was very working class, and yet with socially mobile parents, we (my sisters and I), often struggled to understand why our new hair styles were made fun of and questioned by other girls with less fortunate home lives.
Birmingham was and remains a multicultural city, and our natural hair was definitely celebrated during my primary school years. By high-school age however, I remember wanting to look like R’n’B stars like Ashanti, Mariah and Beyonce, with a straight, layered, face-framing hair cut. My natural hair does not behave like that, so I straightened it (never chemically), and had it cut. I loved it. Looking back I wish my parents were firmer with my dad’s new wife who treated us like dolls, when we just wanted to chill, like most teens, straighten our hair ourselves, and just look like our friends.
During my teenage years I really didn’t think my natural hair was good enough, or beautiful. I wish I’d realised it absolutely was!
WHY DID YOU CREATE JIM + HENRY
To begin with, I wanted to make a product that worked for hair like mine, but I also realised I was massively unhappy in my previous role. I loved journalism, but I wanted to work for myself and enjoy the freedoms that self-employed people seemed to have.
As this journey has progressed I’ve understood the why behind the creation of my brand - to make women of all ages realise they are More Than Enough when they are truly themselves.
WHAT MAKES IT SO SPECIAL?
Jim + Henry, our brand and our product range is so special because we are totally unique: we are the UK’s first brand to create a leave-in comprised of only eight ingredients, and equally a range of products that are less than ten ingredients. We are proud to share no other British brand boasts that feature.
We also store our hair conditioners in amber glass jars. These are medicine-grade to prevent the precious ingredients from photodamage (which can happen with clear glass and clear plastic, if a product containing organic ingredients is left on a sun-soaked shelf).
We are proudly different, in measurable ways
EIGHT, YOUR FIRST EVER PRODUCT BOASTS OF USING ONLY ‘8’ INGREDIENTS – WHY WAS THIS IMPORTANT?
Eight was important because I almost happened upon the ingredients and in a real-life lightbulb moment I thought aha! I don’t need all of that crap the big companies use in products to make me see and feel that was hair, and is beautiful.
Any more than eight ingredients and I found that to be a showy, a bit fanciful and I wanted to keep it really simple and show customers they really don’t need so many ingredients for gorgeous hair. Equally, less than eight ingredients and that would compromise the scent, and I have created the perfect rounded floral, yet fresh scent that comes with the blend of top and medium (ones that linger) notes through our in-house essential oil blend.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO USE JIM + HENRY PRODUCTS?
I love this question! Like this:
Wash hair with Nine, you only need a few pumps, focusing on your roots to remove build up and really clean your hair.
Use our super-thick conditioner, Ten as you would a deep conditioner, work it through the hair and leave-in for 10-15 minutes. Wash out thoroughly.
Post-deep condition, wring-dry hair dry whilst in the shower; whilst hair is damp (not soaking wet), apply Five to your roots and tips of your hair; section your hair into four and add a handful of Eight to each section, one by one.
Work Eight through each section using your fingertips not a brush or a comb (I find these tools only essential for cornrowing/braiding). That’s it!
- FYI if you have fine hair, there’s no science, use less. Richer textures can afford to be more generous with each application.
WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING THING THAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE YOU STARTED THIS JOURNEY AS A CREATOR?
Seeing my products in cities across the world is mind-blowing, but a really cool aspect of this journey is my answer below:
Meeting the little girls whose parents use my products on their hair. Guys, it’s so nice! To see their little faces light up when they see me - someone who looks just like them, but in 20 years time, as a confident young woman. It’s really, really lovely.
WHO IS JIM + HENRY FOR?
Everyone who’s ever thought they needed to change themselves (straighten their hair/ change their appearance/themselves), to feel good enough. And that applies to natural haired girls especially.
WHAT'S YOUR TOP TIP FOR HEALTHY HAIR?
Sleep - you’ll be less tired and therefore more inclined to want to ‘do’ your hair.
You’ll also be less stressed, so you’re more relaxed about your appearance.
Thirdly, long, restful sleeps are key to overall health, and when you’re rested, you’re better, and that extends to hair.
FINALLY, WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNGER ‘TAMMY’ ON THE TOPIC OF HAIR AND SELF ACCEPTANCE?
Firstly, you really don’t know your strength, it’s okay, it’s about to get really, really good.